It’s not only the UK’s Prince Harry, now also the Duke of Sussex, who is shaking up a traditional monarchy and paving the way for a new generation of modern thinking. In Saudi, where the world’s focus is on women’s rights, one young prince is defying expectation by forging a convention-breaking career in interior design. Jeddah native HH Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Khalid Bin Turki Al Saud studied and worked in media in London before changing gear and obtaining a diploma in interior design at NYU, subsequently returning to Saudi to form his own business, Fezz Studio. After designing his own home to great acclaim, he now takes commissions from clients – including women – to help execute their vision, in line with his signature modernism, which combines concrete, minimalist, linear aspects and cubist influences.
The youngest of five siblings, Prince Faisal is closest to his two sisters who directly precede him in age. Entrepreneurs themselves, he lauds the reforms in Saudi that are allowing his sisters to step out of the shadows and assert their achievements. The Prince, who turned 33 this summer, has ambitions to expand his Jeddah-based practice from residential to commercial projects.
In addition, he is happy to lend his support to the new generation of Saudi women who are claiming their voice, talent and accomplishments. With a trio of Saudis behind it – model Taleedah Tamer, casting manager Marriam Mossalli of Niche Arabia and jewellery designer Nadine Attar – Bazaar’s July/August cover shoot is an homage to a new generation of talent emerging from KSA, with Prince Faisal’s cameo role paving the way for a new approach to equality. Here, Prince Faisal reveals the man behind the title.
On Vision 2030
“It feels hopeful and it is excellent to have this vision economically. I am very optimistic.”
On being a prince
“Granted, being a prince does afford you certain privileges, but I think it’s important to go beyond the title and prove yourself as an individual and have your work speak for itself.”
On growing up in a matriarchy
“I am sad that I didn’t know my father well, he passed away when I was 15. My mom is very supportive, she has been the mom and dad. She has been so strong bringing up five kids, we are lucky to have her. I have seen her being the breadwinner and it reflects on all of us. I also have my grandmother with us; it’s a matriarchal family.”
On his sisters
“They are hard workers as well as moms. Their life is what I would wish for my future daughter. They went to the best schools, they speak fluent English, they have the choice of what they want to do. Today, being a working mother is no longer a taboo and they demonstrate that with their nonchalance toward asserting their dual roles.”
On misconceptions of Saudi
“With international attention on Saudi Vision 2030, I believe many of the previous misconceptions held of Saudi and its people are being dispelled.”
On being a feminist
“I am sending a message: a woman should be able to do whatever she wants to do, to have a voice – and a face, and to assert herself just as equally as any man.”